Am I open to life enough?


#1

My husband and I have been married for three years and have never used ABC. Prior to marriage I learned NFP and we practiced it with the intention to avoid (although we were never super strict about it) for about the first year and then we abandoned it, although I keep an eye on CM daily (taking temps has never worked for me).

We have never conceived, to my knowledge, although I suspect three VERY early miscarriages. I have always wanted children, and have mild depression about our apparent infertility almost every month. The problem is the more time that passes, the more I do not actively want to try to have a baby. We would never use ABC and would be DELIGHTED, absolutely over the moon, should we conceive, but I no longer desire to do everything in my power to make it happen. My husband feels the same way - content if we never had children, although there will always be something missing.

I have some health issues, mental and physical, contributing to my attitude (and am doing what I can about them). For my husband's part, he just wants me to be happy. It has nothing to do with wanting more material things...I think we just want to be happy with what we have, and not be miserable over what we don't. Children included.

However, my mother thinks I should be reading every book available and undergoing every procedure under the sun and taking every supplement ever created, in order to conceive. At this point in time I don't want to do this, and I'm not getting any younger. My mother doesn't think I'm sinning by not doing this (she just really wants a grandchild ;) but I tend towards scrupulosity, as well as being capable of horrible, real sins. I don't know whether this is the former, the latter, or nothing to be concerned about.

Is it sinful to just let things happen? Or to be happy being childless, if you're not doing it on purpose? Or is it more proper to actively be distressed and depressed by infertility? I've had a lot of suffering and crosses to bear in life and I think I feel guilty that this one isn't as heavy as it "should" be, or as heavy as I expected it to be, since I've always wanted babies so much.

Could this cross being light be a gift from God?


#2

Yes, you are open to life. You are taking care of your health to the best of your ability and you are not using any means to prevent conception. Have you had your thyroid levels evaluated? Not enough of those can cause depression and infertility.

I can relate to your feelings of there being something missing. I'm 38 and have never been married. I always wanted to marry young and have a gaggle of children. I've prayed about adoption or fostering being a possibility. That door hasn't been opened for me, either. Then last year I found out I had hypothyroidism - the door to my waning fertility was now pretty much closed. I went through a grieving process. I've come to a place of acceptance, which is what I think you are now experiencing. It doesn't mean we wish it weren't different or wouldn't embrace the opportunity should it arise.

Perhaps you are being called to foster or adopt?


#3

Are you open to life? Yes. Are you obligated to pursue fertility treatments? No.

If you guys are happy without kids, that's perfectly ok! :thumbsup: That being said it sounds like ya'll feel like something is missing and you get sad every month. Maybe God is calling you guys to parenthood--through fertility treatment and/or adoption? That's something you'll have to pray about and decide.

In our case I've had 3 miscarriages and in the middle of all of them we were blessed with our daughter. She is so wonderful and we were absolutely meant to be her parents--even though it took fertility treatments to get to have her. We're trying to have more children but are well aware that as a Catholic you can only do so many treatments before you step into a gray area (IUI and IVF) which we aren't going to do.

There are lots of fertility treatments that aren't that invasive that you guys could look into. Having your OB run a hormone panel on you and a semen analysis on your hubby (using a perforated condom) could tell you a lot about how likely you are to get pregnant in a given month. Those tests aren't that bad and it may be worth it to you to know. And given that you think you've had 3 early miscarriages, you should have your progesterone levels checked. I have problems with mine and take a supplement after ovulation to decrease my chances of miscarrying if I'm pregnant. :thumbsup:

Anyway, you guys are doing good. You need to decide if you want to do some fertility treatments and if you're called to have a family since it definitely gets harder to have children as you get older, but you definitely don't have to.

Good luck!

KG


#4

It sounds like you are open to life and are becoming willing to accept whatever happens on God's terms and timetable. I cannot imagine a better state to be in.


#5

this sounds so similar to me and my husband. We want children but so far, nothing has happened. We are pretty certain it is due to my husband's medical condition and until that is taken care of, we don't know if we are infertile or not. The problem is logistics due to his problem. It is very, very frustrating and it makes relations difficult. I don't know if there has truly been a time when we approached sex purely relaxed. Both of us approach it with so much trepidation because we fear that it won't work. His problem makes it to where he rarely ejaculates and we are using NFP. Actually, we don't bother to actively abstain. Oftentimes that is due to his job, etc. When it comes to my fertile time, we try but then he doesn't quite work and then its another session wasted :(. Sometimes I have felt like giving up entirely although I know he doesn't want to give up having relations and trying to have a child.

Almost every door has been closed to get my husband fixed. I'm not sure if fertility treatments will work either since they couldn't do a proper semen analysis on my husband due to his condition :(. It hurts...all of it does :(. I sometimes think we will never have children. It seems hopeless right now.

I know what you are going through Dymphna. :sad_yes:


#6

[quote="rapunzel77, post:5, topic:205158"]
this sounds so similar to me and my husband. We want children but so far, nothing has happened. We are pretty certain it is due to my husband's medical condition and until that is taken care of, we don't know if we are infertile or not. The problem is logistics due to his problem. It is very, very frustrating and it makes relations difficult. I don't know if there has truly been a time when we approached sex purely relaxed. Both of us approach it with so much trepidation because we fear that it won't work. His problem makes it to where he rarely ejaculates and we are using NFP. Actually, we don't bother to actively abstain. Oftentimes that is due to his job, etc. When it comes to my fertile time, we try but then he doesn't quite work and then its another session wasted :(. Sometimes I have felt like giving up entirely although I know he doesn't want to give up having relations and trying to have a child.

Almost every door has been closed to get my husband fixed. I'm not sure if fertility treatments will work either since they couldn't do a proper semen analysis on my husband due to his condition :(. It hurts...all of it does :(. I sometimes think we will never have children. It seems hopeless right now.

I know what you are going through Dymphna. :sad_yes:

[/quote]

I don't mean to minimize what you are feeling but I just had to respond to the comment I bolded. Have you ever considered that he doesn't need fixing? That perhaps he is just the way he is supposed to be, as hard as that might be to accept?


#7

[quote="momor, post:6, topic:205158"]
I don't mean to minimize what you are feeling but I just had to respond to the comment I bolded. Have you ever considered that he doesn't need fixing? That perhaps he is just the way he is supposed to be, as hard as that might be to accept?

[/quote]

He definitely needs the problem fixed. It can lead to more serious medical problems if it isn't fixed. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the doctors said that it is a fixable problem, we would not have been able to get married since it would be an impediment. So, we can't just "accept" it.

I have one more thing to add. Why is it that it is fine to try to get a problem like cancer fixed or some other medical problem but if it is a sexual related problem then you just have to accept it? Why this attitude? This is what I am hearing. Shouldn't sexual problems be fixed as well? Are they less important than the heart or the liver? I don't get this attitude that I should just "accept" it.


#8

[quote="rapunzel77, post:7, topic:205158"]
He definitely needs the problem fixed. It can lead to more serious medical problems if it isn't fixed. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the doctors said that it is a fixable problem, we would not have been able to get married since it would be an impediment. So, we can't just "accept" it.

I have one more thing to add. Why is it that it is fine to try to get a problem like cancer fixed or some other medical problem but if it is a sexual related problem then you just have to accept it? Why this attitude? This is what I am hearing. Shouldn't sexual problems be fixed as well? Are they less important than the heart or the liver? I don't get this attitude that I should just "accept" it.

[/quote]

I'm sorry if I offended, that was not my intention at all. It's not that I don't think sexual / infertility problems shouldn't be fixed.


#9

[quote="momor, post:8, topic:205158"]
I'm sorry if I offended, that was not my intention at all. It's not that I don't think sexual / infertility problems shouldn't be fixed.

[/quote]

I accept your apology, its just that is how it sounded. We have tried to get this surgery done before we were married but the insurance company wouldn't cover part of it and they have continued on this track. We are trying other options but it still leads to heartache. It makes me very angry because its a fixable problem. He has had it for over 8 years now, left untreated :(. We hope that perhaps we can finance the part that the insurance company won't cover and that they will cover the other part (they say that they will). It is very, very frustrating. We had to go through a rigmarole to be allowed to get married because of his problem. At first we were told by our pastor that we couldn't :( but when they were told that it was a fixable problem, we were allowed to on the condition that it couldn't be used as grounds for an annulment (which we wouldn't think of doing).

I realized how much the Church takes the issue of sexual relations seriously in regards of being able to consummate a marriage. It is more of a big deal than people realize. It isn't so simple to just say that the couple could have a josephite marriage. I don't think that the Church encourages that. Having sexual relations with one's spouse is very important. Its not just to satisfy concupiscence.

Thankfully God has blessed us but it is becoming more difficult for him. We HOPE that he can have his surgery soon.


#10

However, my mother thinks I should be reading every book available and undergoing every procedure under the sun and taking every supplement ever created, in order to conceive.

your mother is wrong.

as married people we're obligated to be open to life; we're obligated to total self-giving to our spouses; we are NOT obligated that these two aspects of our vocation result in conception. the catechism reminds us that parenthood is not a 'right.'

furthermore, amongst 'every procedure under the sun' some contradict the Church's teaching on marriage, sexuality and ther rights of every child to be conceived within the marital embrace.

finally, in the context of your apparent obedience, your sense of ease and peace with your current (and potentially permanent) state of childlessness should be considered a grace from God! you're grateful to HIM for what you do have! what a blessing!


#11

Thank you all for your advice - I feel much better :) Rapunzel, you're in my prayers.

I have had my thyroid checked more than once and it is always fine. I have a rare neurological disorder that gives me a great deal of pain and fatigue. We are very open to adoption but because of my health issues we are not actively pursuing it right now.

[quote="monicatholic, post:10, topic:205158"]
However, my mother thinks I should be reading every book available and undergoing every procedure under the sun and taking every supplement ever created, in order to conceive.

your mother is wrong.

as married people we're obligated to be open to life; we're obligated to total self-giving to our spouses; we are NOT obligated that these two aspects of our vocation result in conception. the catechism reminds us that parenthood is not a 'right.'

[/quote]

Thank you for this. Sometimes when I hear that the purpose of marriage is both procreative and unitive, I feel like I'm failing in the first part in some way, that I should work harder to determine if there's anything fixable.

furthermore, amongst 'every procedure under the sun' some contradict the Church's teaching on marriage, sexuality and ther rights of every child to be conceived within the marital embrace.

I don't want to give the impression my mother is urging me to try immoral means like in-vitro - she's a devout Catholic, and a much better Catholic and person than I.

I have endometriosis, which is likely the cause of our infertility, although I suffered abuse when I was young that may also be contributing. I won't go on the pill to shrink the endo, and my doctors do not recommend surgery because of the way my body handles pain (badly) and heals (very slowly and always with complications). My mother thinks I should have the surgery even though she knows it will take a toll, and may not be a permanent solution. She is also always recommending herbal supplement regimens that I think are costly and unproven. But nothing immoral.

finally, in the context of your apparent obedience, your sense of ease and peace with your current (and potentially permanent) state of childlessness should be considered a grace from God! you're grateful to HIM for what you do have! what a blessing!

Thank you...this means a lot to me. I have very, very little peace in other areas of my life, which is maybe why this feels so uncertain and foreign to me. Maybe if I embrace this, it can help with other things.

Monica, I've lurked here for a bit and I always enjoy reading your posts. You have a beautiful family.


#12

[quote="Dymphna78, post:11, topic:205158"]

I have endometriosis, which is likely the cause of our infertility, although I suffered abuse when I was young that may also be contributing. I won't go on the pill to shrink the endo, and my doctors do not recommend surgery because of the way my body handles pain (badly) and heals (very slowly and always with complications). My mother thinks I should have the surgery even though she knows it will take a toll, and may not be a permanent solution. She is also always recommending herbal supplement regimens that I think are costly and unproven. But nothing immoral.

[/quote]

Going on the pill to shrink the endo would not be immoral for any medical reason - pain control, bleeding, or shrinkage. You don't even have to have the intent of it helping you get pregnant later.


#13

I could have written your post…seriously! :smiley:

We have been married 4.5 years and have been unable to conceive. We’ve been open to life from our wedding day and still no blessings yet. So, according to today’s standards we are infertile, though we don’t know for sure what is causing it (Endometriosis is suspected for me) and we aren’t getting any tests done at this time because, like yourself, I have chronic mental and physical health issues. The toll treatments (which for me include surgery) would have on me right now is not something we are NOT wanting to risk at this time. Will we ever try treatments,…maybe. But it certainly isn’t required. For some it’s easier on the marriage itself and/or the couple’s individual emotional well being to not focus so much on it. It can actually be the RIGHT thing to do, and it was for us, to just “let go and let God” so to speak. But you certainly can try some fertility treatments (the church only okays some of them) to up your chances, and for some couples, this gives them the most peace to do so. So, to answer your question…NO, you don’t have to use treatments to try “even harder” :stuck_out_tongue: to conceive. You are certainly considered to be trying to conceive and you are MOST certainly being open to life. So fear not!:wink:

God bless you for your life giving, holy married love! :hug3:

PS…you can private message me if you want to have someone who’s been there done that to talk with. :slight_smile:

PPS…We are ALSO very open to adoption, but my medical treatments and medicines make it unaffordable and thus not an option for us at this point. So, yet another thing we have in common.:wink:


#14

One more thing...I also suffer from scrupulosity. So I can assure you based on speaking to more than one priest about this, as well as many holy laypersons, that it is NOT a sin to choose against getting fertility treatments. The reason the church so strongly promotes (again not requires) infertility treatments is to give those couples longing for a cause to hope a path to pursue that hope. Also to educate couples of which treatments are moral and which are immoral. It is not to say that getting treatments are somehow better than not getting treatments. Hope this helps. I have severe OCD and always need things spelled out for me. :o


#15

:hug3: for you, prolifewife! It certainly sounds like we're in similar situations, and you and your husband are in my prayers.

I've considered Clomid, but the thought of multiples, with my energy levels, leaves me terrified. If my health improves...anything is possible. But I've been dealing with this for half my life, so I don't have much hope of anything substantial happening. I stopped putting my hope in miracles, and started being more pragmatic and focused on the now, after a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Momor - I did go on the pill briefly, years ago, before my marriage. It skyrocketed my blood pressure within two weeks (low dose and everything) and I was told to never try it again. Even if I were comfortable with it otherwise, it wouldn't be worth the risk of stroke or blood clots, which are very common in my family. We're non-smokers, too, healthy weights, it doesn't seem to matter.


#16

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